By A Khokar 28 November 2009
President Obama won’t unveil his plans for Afghanistan until next week, but military officials tell that he intends to escalate the war by sending up to 35,000 additional troops. Press secretary Robert Gibbs said the plan would include an exit strategy, but that’s little consolation for those who were expecting eventually a complete withdrawal of US-NATO forces from Afghanistan.
The addition forces would come atop a record 71,000 U.S. troops in the country now and would represent the largest expansion since the war began eight years ago.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown is likely to embrace the central thrust of General Stanley McChrystal’s report into the future of Afghanistan needed to develop a military and political “push” in his address at the opening Commonwealth session today being held in Trinidad and Tobago, says the daily Guardian.
Days before Barack Obama spell out US strategy in Afghanistan which is being dubbed in London a “McChrystalesque” approach to out line a move forward with a strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan to deal with the risk of al-Qaida and also to deal with the threat of the Taliban returning to power in Afghanistan”.
In his landmark report, McChrystal, commander of US and NATO forces, recommended a more sophisticated counter-insurgency strategy designed to reassure the Afghan people that NATO troops do not see themselves as occupying forces and that their primary task is to protect local people, and a surge of up to 40,000 US troops. It is learnt that NATO countries outside the US are prepared to commit an extra 5,000 troops.
In Pakistan, in order to eliminate Al Qaeda and dissidents of TTP (Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan) Pakistan Army is conducting its Operation Rahe Nijat in FATA area which is about to be completed soon very successfully. Pak army is likely to deploy its forces all along the Pak-Afghan border to guard and keeps a check on any returning dissident who earlier fled FATA during operation. Pak army troops might also have to confront the escapee groups of Afghani Taliban pouring into Pakistan that NATO forces intend to eliminate or drive all Taliban out of Afghanistan.
The purposed deployment of additional US-NATO troops of 35000 that most of them will be deployed in the eastern Afghanistan is likely to find Pak Army troops face to face opposing each other in a ‘Battle ground’ on Hindu Kush ranges. There are chances this confrontation may eventually turn into a new battle front in this area and battle is further drawn into Pakistan.
Needless to say that in order to prolong and justify the deployment of US-NATO troops along Pak-Afghan border; some new false pretexts are already being crafted. As usual the intrusive media news likes presence of Taliban’s Majlis Shura in Quetta Baluchistan and news of their commander Mullah Omer having formed a sanctuary in Karachi are already being circulated widely. This is another US tactical maneuver to under mine the successes of Pak army and keep them engaged in a ‘war of attrition’ in FATA area.